Stay healthy with Bladder 23

Bladder 23 is the Kidney Shu Point

The Back Shu points are known as the “Transporting” points.
Activating these points “transports” Qi to the associated organ.  For every organ in the body, there is a corresponding Back Shu point. Use the Back Shu points to invigorate the Qi of any organ.

Stay Healthy – Support Your Kidneys

The Kidneys are of utmost importance in Chinese medicine because they are responsible for storing our Life Force. The more Life Force we have, the more vitality, strength, and well-being we enjoy. Since Bladder 23 is the Back Shu point of the Kidneys, it is a key acupoint for invigorating the vitality of the Kidneys.

Where is Bladder 23?

Bladder 23 is located on the lower back. The point is level with the second lumbar (low back) vertebrae, on both sides of the spine. It’s located about an inch and half away from the spine.
Refer to the image below:

Bladder 23, the Kidney Shu Point

Bladder 23 is located on both sides of the spine.


How to locate Bladder 23

You have to locate the second lumbar vertebrae in order to locate Bladder 23.  Locating this particular vertebrae takes a little practice. I will walk you through the process.

Locating the second lumbar vertebrae

There are five lumbar vertebrae in the lower back. Each vertebrae is numbered 1-5. The fifth lumbar vertebrae is the lowest, which meets the sacrum at the back of the pelvis.
Refer to the images below:
Diagram of 5 lumbar vertbrae
Diagram of BL 23
We will use the top of the pelvic bones as our reference point to locate the 4th and 5th lumbar vertebrae. You can practice locating this spot, and then feel your way up to the junction of the 2nd and 3rd lumbar vertebrae.

The tops of the pelvic bones are level with the junction of the 5th and 4th lumbar vertebrae

The top of the pelvic bones are level with the junction of the 4th and 5th lumbar vertebrae

Place your hands on the back of the pelvis bones.
Your first fingers squeeze in from each side of the body, resting on the top of the pelvic bones. Let your thumbs come around to the center of the back, level with your fingers. Where your thumbs meet on the back will be at the junction of the 4th and 5th lumbar vertebrae. Keep your contact on that spot!
Place the hands on the hips to locate the 4th and 5th lumbar vertebrae
Next, gently move up the spine, feeling for the protrusions of the lumbar vertebrae. You will need to practice this quite a bit, but it will eventually become effortless.
Practice feeling for the spaces between each vertebrae:

  • Count up from the original area (which is between the 4th and 5th lumbar vertebrae).
  • Move up to the space between the 3rd and 4th vertebrae, and then to the space between the 2nd and 3rd.
  • The space between the 2nd and 3rd lumbar vertebrae is your reference point for locating Bladder 23.
  • Now, gently slide out about an inch and a half on both sides to locate Bladder 23.
    (On larger people, you will go a little further than 1.5 inches; on smaller people, you will go a little less. When measuring distances to locate points, the distance is relative to the size and shape of each person.)

How to activate Bladder 23

Gently massage these points while asking the person you are working on for feedback about your pressure and motion. Adding focused contact to these points during any type of massage is a great way to activate the healing potential of Bladder 23 for your friends, family, and clients.
To continue learning, check out the “All About the Bladder Meridian” video on demand.

Cindy Black

Cindy Black is the Founder of Big Tree School of Natural Healing and the author of Meridian Massage, Pathways to Vitality. She is appreciated for her ability to make the complex accessible, fun, and practical.


  1. Tony O'Neill on October 3, 2018 at 4:40 pm

    Cindy and this Blog have been such a great help to me. They have helped me fine-tune my Tuning Fork business and I am forever grateful.

  2. Avis Lyons on September 9, 2016 at 6:54 pm

    You give such good information. I am seeing how important the bladder meridian is. Thank you, thank you!

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